January 25 marks the return of Burns Night: the annual Scottish knees-up that has been adopted up and down the UK as a good excuse for a party. But what actually is it?
The calendar favourite commemorates the life of poet Robert Burns, aka the man behind the well-known new year song ‘Auld Lang Syne’, who was born on – you guessed it – January 25 (in 1759). The annual celebrations recognise his massive contribution to Scottish culture, and Scots traditionally mark the occasion with a Burns supper, which can be anything from an informal gathering with a few friends to large, loud, formal dinner parties with kilts and other fancy wardrobe choices.
Typically, a Burns supper follows a set order and includes haggis, Scotch whisky and a reading of Burns’s poetry. However, as the tradition spread, celebrations outside of Scotland have taken on their own form, and Londoners can now join a whole host of Burns Night shindigs.
Lots of people host Burns suppers at home, including making creative Burns cocktails, but if you’re looking to join one of London’s many Burns Night events then you’re spoilt for choice. From ceilidhs to whisky tasting to comforting meals, there’s something for everyone. You don’t even need to invest in a kilt.
Check out our guide to the biggest and best Burns Night celebrations in London.